July 8, 2010


Government jobs: Bloated pay, benefits cost us all (James Sherk, 7/07/10, USA Today)

[B]enefits include more than one type of retirement plan. Federal employees can enroll in a Thrift Savings Plan that works like a 401(k). But they also get a "defined contribution" plan, which lets a worker with 30 years of experience retire at 56 with full benefits.

Government workers also can enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. There are no age, health, or pre-existing condition restrictions.

Paid leave? Check. Federal employees with just three years of experience get 20 days annually, and those who have logged more than 15 years get 26 paid days off. Group life insurance? Check. And many federal buildings even offer on-site child care. To be sure, many large private employers offer two or three of these benefits, but very few offer them all.

Once you add up these benefits, the gap in total compensation rises even higher — 30% to 40% above comparable private-sector workers.

Federal civil servants enjoy another perk: near-absolute job security. Private businesses cut hiring and increase layoffs when sales drops. From 2007 through 2009, the adult unemployment rate in the private sector more than doubled, from 4.2% to 9.4%. Not in government. The percentage of federal employees who lost jobs barely budged, going from 2.0% to 2.9%.

This is largely because of civil service rules. It's virtually impossible to fire federal employees for bad performance once they've passed a one-year probationary period.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 8, 2010 5:15 AM
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